I guess you could say I needed something. I wasn't sure what that was, but I knew I was struggling without it. Over the previous seven years I had lost my childhood home to fire, lost my mother and brother to heart attacks, and lost my father to leukemia. I had been transferred twice for my job in less than two years. My wife and kids were exhausted with the transfers. The new job was turning out to be something different than what I had expected, and it was not working out. Simply put, things were bad.

While I was reading everything I could to make changes with my work, I came across an interesting exercise: "Write down the things you want to achieve in your life; don't let perceived possibility influence what is written." I did, and one of them struck me. Until that moment, I had forgotten my childhood dream, but there it was: "Hike the Appalachian Trail." I was soon turning forty and, with a wife and two kids, the thought of ever completing the Appalachian Trail seemed like an absurdity.

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